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Iran rights lawyer seeks UN action in detention of Iranian-American scholar

[JURIST] Iranian 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi [advocacy website, in Persian] requested the assistance of the UN Human Rights Council [official website] to end Iran's "arbitrary detention" of Iranian-American scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari [WWC profile] in a letter sent Monday to the UN body's Arbitrary Detention Working Group [official website]. Ebadi says that Esfandiari has been held in solitary confinement since her arrest [JURIST report] in May, and has been continuously denied visitation and other rights afforded to prisoners under Iranian law. The Iranian Judiciary [official website] has insisted that it has an ongoing investigation [JURIST report] against Esfandiari because of an alleged plot "against the sovereignty of the country" [JURIST report].

In June, Ebadi accused the Iranian government of interfering in judicial affairs to prevent Esfandiari's release [JURIST report]. Ebadi has also accused the Iranian government of denying lawyers access to Esfandiari [JURIST report]. Iran has also charged Iranian-American Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh [OSI press release] and Radio Farda correspondent Parnaz Azima for an alleged espionage conspiracy against the government [JURIST report]. AFP has more.

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